Archives for : May2015

Season Review 2014/2015

1st – Barnet – 92 pointsBFC

Deservedly winning the title on the final day of the season, Barnet become Conference champions for a record third time. Manager, Martin Allen picked up a second league winners medal in three years, having won League Two with Gillingham, and his know how had the Hertfordshire club leading the Conference for the majority of the campaign. An opening day 5-0 win set the tone in a consistent season as the Bees went on to open up a comfortable gap. John Akinde’s 31 goals earned the striker the golden boot award in his first season with the Bees, the striker helped his side top score with 94. A wobble in the New Year and February allowed challengers to claw back the deficit. Having led the way for five months, Barnet were knocked off the top at the start of March. The Bees wasted no time and returned to the summit immediately, an eight match unbeaten run had Allen’s side a point clear entering the final day showdown. Facing Gateshead at home, The Hive was in a celebratory mood as the season closed with a 2-0 victory, stretching the unbeaten run to nine ensuring the Conference title returned to Barnet. The honours board now reads at The Hive, Conference champions 1991, 2005 and 2015.

Did you know…
Barnet had six spells at the top of the table and ended up at the summit 42 times, after completing a match.

2nd – Bristol Rovers – 91 pointsbristol rovers

This season’s playoff winners were officially the most difficult team to beat in the Conference Premier, Bristol Rovers’ extraordinary form from September to the end of the season meant Barnet couldn’t quite shrug them off until the very end. After three games, the Gas were shown that life in non-league wasn’t easy. Relegated from League Two, Bristol Rovers opened their campaign with a draw, defeat to eventual champions and a loss to promoted Altrincham. Darrell Clarke soon pulled his troops together and embarked on a nine game unbeaten run. After defeat at home to Forest Green Rovers, the Gas set a season’s record of a further twenty matches unbeaten and ended eight games without a loss. The best defence in the league kept 22 clean sheets and with summer signing Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison netting 31 between them, Bristol Rovers were always hot on Barnet’s tails. Going into the final day, Clarke’s men knew they had to win and they did in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Alfreton Town. A 19 match unbeaten away run looks good on paper but too many draws on the road cost Bristol Rovers the title. A playoff semi-final win over Forest Green Rovers meant a Wembley showdown with Grimsby Town. A record playoff final crowd gathered to witness a 1-1 extra time draw but ‘Gas Heads’ went home celebrating with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory.

Did you know…
Bristol Rovers hit the woodwork 16 times, the joint highest with Conference Premier champions Barnet

3rd – Grimsby Town – 86 pointsgtfc

Qualifying for the playoffs for a third successive season, Grimsby Town broke their record points haul but went home as bridesmaid’s yet again. The Mariners have come so close in recent years losing two playoff semi finals and a F.A Trophy final. This time Paul Hurst’s side managed to keep in close contact with the top two and were still within a shout of the title going into the last month. Entering April, the Mariners were a point behind leaders Barnet thanks to a run of eight wins from nine, including victory against the champions. As expected and consistent with their last two campaigns, Grimsby Town’s defence was difficult to breach. In attack, Lenell John-Lewis’ 16 goals and Nathan Arnold’s ten assists helped make the Mariners a solid yet productive team. The opening to the season was mixed with three draws against a mixture of opposition but back to back 6-1 and 7-0 wins against Gateshead and Alfreton Town made the Conference sit up and take notice. Indifferent form in very small patches turned out to be the difference as the top two continued to remain ahead of Grimsby Town. The majority of their campaign consisted of strong unbeaten runs and so a playoff spot was well deserved. The Mariners defeated Eastleigh in the semi-final but a fourth Wembley defeat in a row prevented a return to the Football League.

Did you know…
The Mariners recorded the most shots on target with 285, averaging 6.19 per game.

4th – Eastleigh – 82 pointseastleigh

A terrific debut season for the Conference South champions who for a consecutive campaign set the clubs highest ever finish. The backing of Stewart Donald and the management of Richard Hill led the Spitfires to an impressive fourth spot. The Hampshire club bought in a wealth of experience recruiting the likes of Stuart Fleetwood, Jack Midson, James Constable and Crag McAllister. Constable’s 18 strikes continued his prolific record in the Conference Premier. Eastleigh’s attacking prowess, second top scorers in the division coupled with consistently beating teams in the bottom half led to a strong first term at the top of non league. One of many highlights included a 2-1 away win at Bristol Rovers and a new stand opening in December to increase capacity at the Silverlake Stadium. Eastleigh have been a growing club despite nine years in the Conference South, but the move to professional status has taken the Spitfires higher. For a successive season a newly promoted side reached the playoffs and like FC Halifax Town the campaign before it was a step too far. Eastleigh faced third place side Grimsby Town, after a 2-1 loss at home the return leg finished 3-0 to the Mariners, the Spitfires dream of reaching Wembley ended in a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

Did you know…
The offside trap was perfected by Eastleigh when they caught their opponents out 221, more than any other club, a staggering 67 times more than second place Aldershot Town.

5th – Forest Green Rovers – 79 pointsfgrfc

Constantly starting as one of the favourites, Forest Green Rovers finally showed their promise this term. Since the investment of Dale Vince, Rovers have disappointed including three tenth place finishes in a row. This time instead of fading after early promise, the Gloucestershire club ended the campaign strongly. Accumulating the most points in 2015, Rovers broke into the top five over the New Year and their consistency kept them above the playoff line. The first half of the campaign could have been just as impressive had Adrian Pennock’s team converted draws into wins. Jon Parkin’s success up front with 25 goals left him six behind the golden boot winner John Akinde. Capable of putting together strong unbeaten runs, with two sequences lasting ten and 12 games respectively, the Gloucestershire club may have fancied their playoff chances. An array of midfield creativity helped the frontline with Marcus Kelly, Rob Sinclair and Elliot Frear all inside the top ten assist makers. Currently the longest serving Conference Premier club Rovers threatened to depart after 17 years, for the first time in this spell they reached the playoffs. Facing promotion favourites Bristol Rovers, Pennock’s side were unable to make the final as they lost 3-0 on aggregate.

Did you know…
Forest Green Rovers were often caught napping up front being caught offside 135 times, the highest in the division.

6th – Macclesfield Town – 78 pointsmtfc

There is a lot more to be positive about at Moss Rose as the Silkmen narrowly missed out on a playoff place. One more goal on the final day of the season at Torquay United would have been enough as Forest Green Rovers drew, as it was Macclesfield Town could only earn a point. Beneath the end of season disappointment the Cheshire club had less off field speculation about finances than the previous campaign, a manager in John Askey who is a club favourite from his playing days and up until mid-February the title was in reach. The financial situation at Moss Rose had an impact in the end as a small squad ran out of steam, in the final two months won just three from the last eleven fixtures leading to a drop to sixth place. An exemplary home record laid the foundations of a much improved campaign, the best home defence and only two defeats at Moss Rose. The Silkmen got results, even if the fewest number of goals were scored in games featuring Macclesfield Town. Waide Fairhurst and Matthew Barnes-Homer netted 19 between them but other than that their attack was as productive as a mid-table team.

Did you know…
Macclesfield Town recorded their best home record since 1997/1998 when they went unbeaten. This term they picked up 49 points (W14, D7, L2).

7th – Woking – 76 pointswokingfc

This season’s best part time team in the United Kingdom, Woking recorded their highest finish for eighteen years and their biggest Conference Premier points tally since 1996. Garry Hill’s reputation grows as he manages to keep improving Woking’s final league position ever since he took charge in 2011. For part of the campaign it looked as if though the Cards would surprisingly challenge at the very top, they occupied second and third on a number of occasions between September and December. Scott Rendell continued his excellent form in front of goal by netting 24 times, only Jon Parkin and John Akinde scored more. The season started with a nine match unbeaten run, including a 6-1 thrashing of Conference South playoff winners Dover Athletic. Three consecutive defeats weren’t enough to derail the Surrey side as they soon climbed to second. Approaching the New Year became a little sticky with an indifferent November and a run of eight games without victory in December and January. Dropping to eighth, Woking picked themselves up as consistency returned for the remainder of the campaign, nine wins, three draws and three losses for the final run in kept the Cards ahead of the part time pack.

Did you know…
Woking’s 76 points was their highest in the Conference Premier for 19 years, when the Cards finished runners up on 83 points.

8th – Dover Athletic – 68 pointsdover

The Conference South playoff winners will be more than pleased at their first season back at the top of non-league football for twelve years. Yet the hard part is still to come with the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ approaching, a jinx playoff winners of the Conference South seem to suffer from. For now, the second best team in Kent can reflect on a solid campaign helped by Stefan Payne’s contribution of 15 goals and nine assists. Had anyone mentioned a top ten finish mid-September they would have been classed as mad. Dover Athletic struggled to get to grips with their new surroundings losing eight of their opening eleven matches. The tide turned and the rest of the season was a blast for the newboys. A thirteen match unbeaten run took them through September to the last day of January. Resounding wins at home against Nuneaton Town as well as Kent rivals Welling United and Dartford lifted the Crabble support. A minor blip followed but Chris Kinnear could be excused as he got his side back on track losing just twice in the final eleven. The Whites also managed to enjoy a F.A Cup run to the third round where they bowed out to Premier Leaguers Crystal Palace.

Did you know…
Dover Athletic picked up 31 out of 36 points at the Crabble against teams who finished in the bottom half.

9th – FC Halifax Town – 66 pointsFC Halifax Town

The Shaymen were unable to repeat their excellent season a year ago and so missed out on the playoffs. It started all so well despite the loss of star striker Lee Gregory in the summer to Champions hip side Millwall. The campaign begun with manager Neil Aspin signing a new two year contract, despite having a year to run and in September he was rewarded with Manager of the Month. FC Halifax Town boasted a 100% record after five games and showed no signs of missing a quality striker. The rest of the season played out inconsistently until March when the only consistency was picking up a point. The Shaymen drew nine out of eleven games towards the end of the season ending with a four match losing streak. Lois Maynard managed to find the net eleven times closely followed by Scott Boden on ten. Away from home FC Halifax Town struggled to find goals with only four teams scoring fewer on their travels. However, the back remained tight away from the Shay recording the fourth best defence. Their second term in the Conference Premier was always going to be tough after a superb return last campaign, the Shaymen certainly found that out.

Did you know…
Jamie Jackson’s yellow card against Aldershot Town came after only 26 seconds on the field, the quickest caution of the season.

10th – Gateshead – 66 pointsgfc

Last term the Heed were just one game away from a return to the Football League for the first time in 55 years, this time last season’s playoff runners up only just made the top ten on goals scored. Form against those who finished above them yielded only one victory but the story was so different up to November. Gateshead lost only twice in their opening sixteen matches as they set to challenge for promotion continuing where they left off last campaign. At the start of November, the Heed were second behind Barnet but the distraction of the F.A Cup changed the picture. A run to the third round and a 7-0 defeat against Premier League’s West Bromwich Albion in January came at the end of a period of one win in nine league games. Gary Mills guided the Tynesiders through the rest of the campaign inconsistently but always on the fringes of a playoff spot. When their chance of promotion disappeared they still had a major say in the title race. Gateshead’s final day defeat handed Barnet the title and ended the campaign with one win in nine. With the season closed Mills moved to take the reins at Wrexham, the appointment of a new manager will have to wait until after Chairman Graham Wood leaves his post.

Did you know…
Gateshead managed just one win against teams finishing above them, the Heed also lost to the top five at home.

11th – Wrexham – 66 pointswfc

With a summer of rebuilding, Wrexham were led by Kevin Wilkin who impressed with his spell as Nuneaton Town boss. Wilkin took some key players with him in Louis Moult and Wes York, Moult managed 16 goals in a side which were unable to live up to expectations. The Welsh side completed their seventh campaign in the Conference Premier and after three consecutive playoff failures have struggled to reach those same heights. Still, the Red Dragons improved on last term’s seventeenth but a return to the Football League eludes them. Up until the end of September, Wrexham were in a healthy third position but form dipped for too long, only three more league were recorded from October through to the end of January. The New Year saw an improvement as the Red Dragons were tougher to beat, losing just four more in 2015. Wins were interspersed with draws but even still Wrexham finished fairly strong. The Welsh side performed admirably in both cup competitions reaching the F.A Cup third round, giving Premier League Stoke City a run for their money. Yet Wilkin lost his job when a 2-0 lead was thrown away in the F.A Trophy final to Conference North underdogs North Ferriby United, the 3-2 defeat denied Wrexham any silverware and their second F.A Trophy in three years.

Did you know…
Wrexham ended their campaign with a nine game unbeaten run at the Racecourse Ground, the longest current sequence.

12th – Chester – 63 pointsCFC

When their campaign started Chester must have thought ‘here we go again’. Reprieved last term as Hereford United were demoted for their financial issues, the Blues lost the opening game 5-0 to eventual champions Barnet. By the time April arrived Steve Burr’s side were the most improved team from the Conference Premier class of 2013/2014. Fourth from bottom last season, Chester were twelve points and nine places better off this time. Add a run to the F.A Cup second round which included a 2-1 win at Southend United and a respectable 0-0 draw at Barnsley then Chester took advantage of a second bite of the Conference Premier cherry. The Blues finished just three points behind their rivals Wrexham and recorded their highest league position since forming as Chester. John Rooney topped scored with eleven whilst Sean McConville impressed with nine strikes and eleven assists. Their slow start always had the Cheshire club looking over their shoulder but stability approached in January. The Blues went on a run of taking thirteen out fifteen points giving them a cushion to hit a poor patch, one victory in nine. The final three fixtures boosted Chester’s final position as they took all nine points including an entertaining 5-3 triumph over Nuneaton Town on the final day.

Did you know…
Since reforming in 2010, Chester recorded their highest ever finish to retain their Conference Premier status.

13th – Torquay United – 61 pointstufc

Despite an opening day defeat Torquay United lived up to expectations over the first eleven games reaching second place. Chris Hargreaves ‘ side kept eight clean sheets in that time which contributed to the Gulls six straight victories. A ten match unbeaten run came to halt unexpectedly at bottom of the table AFC Telford United and from then on Torquay United were not quite the same. The Gulls lost five from six and only won five more up to the beginning of April. By which time it was too late leaving Torquay United in a disappointing sixteenth. Hargreaves felt the frustration and revealed the average wage of £375 per week for his first team against Kidderminster Harriers, sparking national headlines. Luke Young’s creativity impressed with his fourteen assists, the joint highest in the division with Eastleigh’s Jai Reason. However, the Gulls lacked a striker to earn them more points. The Devonshire club did finish fairly strong though winning three and drawing one of their final four fixtures conceding just once. Last time Torquay United fell from the Football League it took them two attempts to return, they will have to try once more next term after a disappointing campaign.

Did you know…
Torquay United conceded the most fouls this term by giving away 513 free-kicks, an average of 11.13 per game.

14th – Braintree Town – 59 pointsBTFC

It was the first time in six years that the Iron failed to improve on their league position. In all fairness it was always going to be challenging considering the last four campaigns set new record high finishes. The man instrumental to the success of Braintree Town will not be at the helm next term, Alan Devonshire turned down a new contract offer. The Essex club were consistent throughout 2014/2015 and drew the fewest number of games in the division. The first two months started well and Devonshire’s side looked set to continue where they left off in April 2014. By mid-September the Iron were in seventh but a sticky run of ten without a win, including six games without a goal left them in the bottom half. Winning ways returned more often and apart from two further blips Braintree Town finished where you would expect. The highlight of the season came in March when the part timers went to Plainmoor and convincingly beat Torquay United 5-1, their highest scoring away win since competing in the Conference Premier. Jordan Cox and Dan Sparkes shared the club’s golden boot with ten league goals.

Did you know…
The Iron suffered the most 1-0 defeats in this season’s Conference Premier losing by a single goal ten times, they also recorded the most 2-0 wins with seven.

15th – Lincoln City – 58 pointslcfc

A fourth season completed in the Conference Premier since relegation four years ago, the Imps have made little progress by finishing between fourteenth and seventeenth on each occasion. Lincoln City started the campaign with Gary Simpson in charge and a four game unbeaten run, winning three after drawing their opening game. Six defeats from seven and a whole host of draws slid Simpson’s side down to mid table. Three goals up against Forest Green Rovers on 1 November, the Imps conceded the lead in the final twenty minutes to draw 3-3. The board reviewed the progress made and decided it was time to place Simpson on ‘gardening leave’. Chris Moyses was named the new boss having been promoted from the Lincoln City Centre of Excellence. Moyses remained in charge until the end of the season and initially the appointment looked promising when a run of six wins in seven moved his side up the ladder. Form returned to pre Moyses level as the Imps earned just four more victories in the final nineteen fixtures. Defensively on their travels Lincoln City struggled conceding 43 times, the fourth highest in the division. Ben Tomlinson was one of the bright sparks of the campaign netting 14 times, whilst Jordan Burrow grabbed ten goals.

Did you know…
The Imps were left without their kit when their hotel in Southampton suffered a fire, the incident led to their match at Eastleigh being rescheduled.

16th – Kidderminster Harriers – 57 pointsKHFC

It feels like Kidderminster Harriers missed their chance to return to the Football League two years ago. Taking the title to the final day, the Harriers missed out finishing runners up. The longer the Worcestershire club have spent in the Conference Premier greater off field pressures have caused managers to come and go and now board members. Harriers started off on the front foot unbeaten in their opening seven and perhaps their expectations were raised too high. However, Gary Whild had his team contending for the playoffs even up until January, finishing that month in fifth spot. Two months prior it was announced Kidderminster Harriers were having financial difficulties and when the transfer window opened players moved on. The wage budget was cut and out went Michael Gash, Chey Dunkley, Nathan Blissett, Kyle Storer and Marvin Johnson. Fans favourite, Lee Hughes did return to Aggborough where he started his career over 20 years ago scoring a goal every other game. It was no coincidence that form dipped, Kidderminster Harriers went on to win just once in their final fifteen games picking up eight out of 45 points available. Chairman Kevin Rae quit the club along with two directors and at the end of the campaign Harriers only had five players contracted players for next term, the wage budget is to be cut again.

Did you know…
Kidderminster Harriers recorded their lowest league position since returning to the Conference Premier, the last time they finished lower in the football pyramid was in 1997/98.

17th – Altrincham – 56 pointsaltrincham

A three year absence from the Conference Premier made no difference to Alty who had enough in the tank to take their foot off the gas. In Conference Premier seasons gone by Altrincham have consistently been in the lower reaches of the division, so their final position this term went with historical form. Losing five from their opening six games made safety look a long way off, yet in that spell they took the scalp of playoff winners and runners up Bristol Rovers. By October, Altrincham started to fit in with the division and up until February showed why they were capable of staying up. Damian Reeves brought his Conference North goalscoring form with him by scoring an impressive 18 goals, only three others in the league scored more times than the 29 year old. A decent run of just two defeats from a dozen matches moved the Greater Manchester club towards the middle of the standings. With fifty points reached before the end of March, Alty added seven more against FC Halifax Town, Dartford and Southport. The final four games all ended defeat but by then the mission had already been accomplished. Manager, Lee Sinnott will be pleased with survival and the way his team altered to their new surroundings.

Did you know…
The Conference North playoff winners of last season used the fewest number of players this term, 21 players took part in their first campaign back in the Conference Premier.

18th – Aldershot Town – 53 pointsAldershot Town FC

This time the Shots started on a level playing field compared to last terms ten point deduction. Andy Scott began the campaign in charge but dreadful form in the depths of winter cost Scott his job. The Hampshire club couldn’t find any sort of consistency in the early part of the season, and the reliance on Brett Williams’ goals throughout the campaign continued. The Shots had an awful December and January and during that time lost nine out of ten. Club captain, Chris Barker took the hotseat and the 34 year old guided Aldershot Town to a more comfortable position. When the defender took charge, the Shots were just six points from the drop zone, an unbeaten run of six games helped him secure the role until the end of the season. Barker may well have done a decent enough job but it will be former Dundee and Alloa Athletic boss Barry Smith at the helm next term. Aldershot Town eventually surpassed last season’s points tally by two points, but would have been way off had it not been for the Shots starting 2013/14 with minus ten points. Off the field, Chairman Shahid Azeem seems to have stabilised the club but on the field the Shots failed to make any progress.

Did you know…
Brett Williams took 42 seconds to score after coming off the bench against Alfreton Town, the quickest goal scored by a substitute this season.

19th – Southport – 51 pointssfc

Two excellent runs kept Southport afloat for another campaign in the Conference Premier. This time the Sandgrounders had their fair share of managerial changes bringing instability to Haig Avenue. Even still, Southport waded through and stayed up despite constantly keeping an eye on those trailing closely behind. Martin Foyle was the man responsible for getting the Merseysiders off to a slow start and by October he was sacked following a 5-2 defeat at home to Woking. Three wins in their opening 14 matches left the club third from bottom and in stepped Gary Brabin. The new boss made an immediate impact setting a six game unbeaten run but his tenure was short lived. In January he chose to move to coach at Everton’s academy leaving Southport looking for a third manager of the campaign. Four defeats in a row soon followed making Paul Carden’s task tougher but he pulled his team together in an unbeaten March taking 14 points out of the 18 available. With six games remaining Southport were just three points shy of the 50 point mark but they had to wait to the final match to reach it, the Sandgrounders ended too close to the drop zone for comfort.

Did you know…
Southport collected the most yellow cards picking up 88, Luke George’s 15 cautions was the most by a single player.

20th – Welling United – 45 pointswelling

Two major decisions severely affected Welling United’s return the Conference Premier taking survival down the wire. The Wings participated at the top of non-league for the first time in 14 years and with promising manager Jamie Day in charge, the Conference South champions looked as if though they would ease to safety. All was going to plan until November which saw the loss of Harry Beautyman to Peterborough United then a fortnight later decision one, Day left. Conference South side Ebbsfleet United wanted to flex their financial muscles and picked Day to lead their spending spree, the 35 year old accepted. The second decision came days before Christmas when Welling United gambled on Jody Brown from Grays Athletic. Brown was unable to make a positive impact and one win in nine games made his position shortlived. The Kent club managed to lose nine in a row and so it was up to right back Loui Fazakerley to have a go in the dugout. With the Wings sliding down the ladder fast, Fazakerley managed back to back victories at home to Kidderminster Harriers and Wrexham. The penultimate fixture away to Alfreton Town proved crucial; avoiding defeat would give Welling United an advantage over their opponents going into the final day, a 2-2 draw turned out to be enough, both sides lost on the last day.

Did you know…
The Wings had 12 players red carded in their first Conference Premier campaign since 1999/2000, more than any other club this term. Midfielder, Jake Gallagher saw red three times.

21st – Alfreton Town – 45 pointsatfc

In the end the Reds went down with a whimper, a crushing 7-0 loss a title chasers Bristol Rovers returned Alfreton Town back to the Conference North after a four year spell in the Conference North. The Derbyshire side conceded the most goals shipping in 90 and a goal difference of minus 41 was twenty short of Welling United’s. Nicky Law was always playing catch up not helped by the fact the manager began the campaign with a six match ban. The Reds lost all six of those fixtures and one more on his return to the sideline for good measure. Good results against fellow strugglers Southport, AFC Telford United and Nuneaton Town lifted Alfreton Town out of the drop zone, but this was only temporary. Four more defeats in a row, this time without scoring and a further four successive defeats a month later left them in trouble. Surprisingly, the Reds managed to move out of the bottom four when form picked up in 2015. With only three defeats between January and March, including seven unbeaten gave the Derbyshire a fighting chance of survival. The final five matches were too tough against three of the playoff contenders, the Reds lost three before a damaging 2-2 draw with Welling United, ultimately leading to the final day catastrophe.

Did you know…
Alfreton Town failed to pick up a single point against all top 12 teams on their travels.

22nd – Dartford – 39 pointsdfc

Lightning struck twice for the Darts when they ended up third from bottom for a successive campaign. Last term Hereford United and Salisbury City helped the Darts out leading to the Kent club’s reprieve. Although this time the consequences are far smaller AFC Telford United’s points deduction moved Dartford up one place weeks after the campaign ended. On paper the squad looked in better shape, despite preparing for Conference South football in the summer, but on the field where it matters the Darts were five points shy of last season’s total. In almost a repeat to last term a terrible ten game period was the catalyst to a bottom four finish. In November and December 2013 Dartford went on a ten game losing streak, equally a club record. A year later from November to January the feat was almost repeated; a win at Wrexham in the middle of a poor ten game run prevented the record being equalled again. Against the bottom sides Dartford fared better than the campaign before but an increase in draws and almost as many defeats left the Kent side relegated. Lee Noble impressed and Elliot Bradbrook yet again top scored from midfield. The Darts failed to fire on all cylinders up front with only Nuneaton Town scoring fewer goals.

Did you know…
Dartford may have recorded the fewest attempts on goal with 318 shots, but Ryan Hayes goal after 25 seconds against Kidderminster Harriers was the quickest this season. The midfielder’s  goal was one of three corners he directly scored from this term.

23rd – AFC Telford United – 36 pointsAFCTUFC

In danger of becoming a ‘yo-yo’ club AFC Telford United returned to the Conference North after one season. The Bucks finished bottom two years ago before bouncing back at the first attempt, now the Shropshire club drop a division once more. Liam Watson led the Bucks to the Conference North title a year ago and was rewarded with the chance to keep AFC Telford United in the top non-league division. However, his start failed to take off with the first win coming after 12 games albeit an entertaining 4-3 victory versus Torquay United. The Bucks were rooted to the bottom for the majority of the campaign and by December Watson lost his position as manager with Steve Kittrick taking over. In the second half of the season AFC Telford United did manage to pick up almost twice as many points as the first half. High scoring draws against Nuneaton Town and Eastleigh and a 4-0 win away to Wrexham, showed life in attack. When the goals dried up more defeats followed and despite moving of the foot of the table Kittrick’s team fell through the relegation trapdoor. The current boss will be hoping for a clean slate next term, especially after he went public over players not wishing to play for the club.

Did you know…
AFC Telford United’s home record was the worst in the division; the Bucks also had the worst home defence conceding 44 times.

24th – Nuneaton Town – 36 pointsntfc

An unstable and poor season for Nuneaton Town, who finished the last two seasons in fifteenth and thirteenth. Boro struggled throughout, a stark contrast to last term when they were flirting with the Conference Premier playoffs. A poor start to the campaign cost Brian Read his job in September, the Scotsman was dismissed just seven games into the new season. Boro had only scored twice in that time during a 2-1 home win against newly promoted Altrincham. Former Ebbsfleet United boss Liam Daish took over but failed to make a major impact working with the least prolific attack and a leaky defence. Off the field, Chief Executive Officer and director Ian Neale resigned following his arrest in October which led to a suspended sentence. On the field, when Daish managed to plug the leaky defence Boro went on a seven game unbeaten run during February and March, in that time Nuneaton Town kept six consecutive clean sheets helping them move up to fourth from bottom. Any chances of survival ended when they lost five of their final six games, picking up a point. To make matters worse, three points were deducted for an ineligible player to ensure the wooden spoon for Boro.

Did you know…
The Boro scored just 13 times on their travels and failed to score in 56% of their away games, the worst away attack in the division.